Major breakthroughs in database technology are rare, but CopperEye is touting its database indexing software as a revolutionary advance. Its 'adaptive addressing' technology, the company says, can improve application performance by up to 40 times and processing speed by a factor of ten.
Chief executive John Tucker founded CopperEye to address what he claims is a fundamental flaw in most relational databases: their reliance on dated B-Tree algorithms for placing and locating files. Tucker, therefore, devised an alternative algorithm based on what he calls 'adaptive addressing', which points to 'row-IDs' of data far more accurately. This enables a database to carry out far fewer searches than a B-Tree-based relational database to find specific data.
A key differentiator of the technology is its capability to index a wide variety of 'scalar' data types such as addresses, dates and other numerical data. Other index vendors, says Tucker, tend to concentrate on certain niches, particularly geographical data.
CopperEye has packaged its technology in two ways: Intelligent Indexing and Custom Indexing. The first, which Tucker says is quick to implement and inexpensive, requires the direct replacement of an applications existing index with CopperEye's technology. Custom Indexing is a full set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for customers building bespoke systems.
The primary market for the products lies with organisations that frequently access a wide range and large volume of disparate data, and require good data availability. CopperEye is, therefore, focusing on attracting customers in the utilities, financial services and telecoms sectors – mobile phone giant Vodafone is already using a customer.
To help drive sales, the company is now in the process of building up both a direct sales force and a network of resellers. Much of the £1.9 million (€3.1m) raised during its second round of funding completed in October 2001 will go towards that process.
Some of that money may also have to go into product development, however. A major limitation to CopperEye's growth is that its core technology only works with Oracle databases. Tucker says that a decision to extend the product for use on alternative relational databases, such as IBM's DB2, will be taken soon.
Verdict: CopperEye has developed a sound business proposition – improving the performance of data storage and retrieval while keeping costs down through minimising disk, memory and processor requirements.